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HHL Leipzig Is Germany’s Best Business School For Entrepreneurs—Here’s Why

The birthplace of unicorns and exciting AI startups, HHL Leipzig’s Graduate School of Management is ranked Germany’s top business school for entrepreneurs. Two MBAs-turned-entrepreneurs tell us why

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Mon Aug 24 2020

BusinessBecause

You don't need an MBA to become an entrepreneur. But the networking opportunities, support system, and innovative approach to problem solving fostered at B-school, has been invaluable to the success of many top business people.

The MBA at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management proves this point with its impressive alumni, and consistent number one ranking as Germany’s top b-school for entrepreneurs.

HHL is the alma mater of the founders of 5 of Germany’s startups with unicorn status, meaning private startups with a valuation over $1 billion: About You, Auto1, IONIQ, food giant Delivery Hero and Trivago.

“My success story as an entrepreneur started at HHL, where I met people with the same passion for bringing ideas into life,” says Rolf Schrömgens, co-founder of top European travel site Trivago.

Following in these footsteps are HHL’s new generation of entrepreneurs, who include Sharique Husain, co-founder of AI video analytics company Dive Tech, and more recently the construction tech startup CONSAI, and Annemarie Heyl, co-founder of juice company Kale&Me.

Both feel that the experiences they gained at HHL have been vital to their success as entrepreneurs.


Sharique Husain -Dive Tech and CONSAI  a3dd2b22e3a019f07a6b6879907dbd8e4e559635.jpeg

Sharique joined HHL from his native India, where he previously studied physics and mathematics.

Before starting his own ventures, Sharique built a successful career in the telecom and media industry, setting up mobile OTT service businesses in India, South East Asia and Russia with Buongiorno, later acquired by NTT DOCOMO. From there, he was headhunted by Accenture to help build their digital practice in the DACH region, where he became a top consultant.

Lessons learned and contacts made at HHL have helped him every step of the way.

“An MBA pays itself back especially well about five or six years on, from the power of the networking and alumni,” Sharique says.

He explains how, over these years, many of his classmates had worked their way up into senior positions in some leading German companies. 

“Instead of competing for consulting projects with my colleagues,” explains Sharique, “I started using my HHL network to become the person bringing in the opportunities, by reaching out to my contacts. Taking that intrapreneurial approach significantly strengthened my position at Accenture.”

Now, he’s gone from intrapreneur within Accenture, to entrepreneur with his two ventures, Dive and CONSAI. The former currently uses AI video analytics in retail, security, and transportation, while the latter seeks to disrupt and maximize efficiency in the construction industry.

His mathematical background and experience with emerging technologies have been an important element in building these new ventures, as well as a highly analytical, logical approach to business. “I always say to people, make sure everything you do is measurable. I learned from the leading management thinker Peter Drucker that If you can measure, you can improve. It’s as simple as that.”

Ultimately Sharique credits HHL for helping him become a more well-rounded businessman. He describes how his MBA helped him understand the importance of having a clear template that others can follow, therefore building trust over competition.

This philosophy is entrenched across HHL, which even has its own startup accelerator to support new ventures with both funding and expertise.

“It was during my MBA that I realised building business is not about mathematics,” adds Sharique. “It’s all about people and aspirations.”


Annemarie Heyl -Kale&Me 2a9451635514134323c8dea13269b5a1aab3483e.jpeg

After finishing her MBA, German native Annemarie interned in Shanghai with the sales and marketing team at Dr Oetker, before returning to Berlin with a role at digital publishing giant Axel Springer Media House. 

Now, she runs the operations and PR for the juice company Kale&Me, which she co-founded with two friends and collaborators.

She explains how the seeds for success as an entrepreneur were sewn during her MBA.

“At HHL, I learned how to form a strong team by bringing together different people with different backgrounds and skill sets,” Annemarie says. She adds that HHL’s diverse MBA community, where 90% of students are international, was pivotal in teaching her the value of multiple perspectives.

“The presentations we experienced in our classes were exceptional. We met entrepreneurial role models in person, and were able to observe and learn from them.” Many of HHL’s guest speakers come from their extensive alumni network, which is active across 70 countries. 

HHL alumni are even known to regularly visit the campus to recruit HHL students for their own businesses ventures, allowing MBAs to gain all manner of practical insights, experiences, and connections before starting their own venture.

For Annemarie, the encouraging environment at HHL helped her feel that starting a business was a real, tangible possibility. She describes how, long after finishing her MBA, she still gets invited to conference speeches by old classmates, and receives support through specialist alumni networks like the HHL entrepreneurship circle

Ongoing opportunities like these, born out of HHL’s supportive campus culture, became invaluable sources of insight as Annemarie created Kale&Me, and expanded the company to the success it is today.

All in all, HHL’s is a highly sustainable support system. “I not only got access to the support,” says Annemarie, “but I learned how important it is to give back, and provide mentorship to the next set of HHL entrepreneurs.”

Student Reviews

HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

Student

Verified

8/06/2020

Part time MSc Management

I decided on attending this program since it is 100% in English, the option for a Semester abroad, and it has a nicely designed curriculum. I enjoyed very much the studies at the Leipzig location (I do not live in Leipzig and was staying in Airbnb flats with other students during the course weekends). There was great enthusiasm within the students' group, the courses were challenging and we had experienced/diverse professors which added to the overall experience. HHL is focused on teamwork and is big on its network and career development which is a definite value add for students. I can recommend HHL to other students who want to sharpen their skill set to be prepared for leadership positions.

Brendan

Verified

5/06/2020

Impressive Journey

I’m doing my Master Part-time at HHL and love the Journey. The teaching is between good and outstanding. The service around the lectures is amazing. Never had to wait longer than a day for a response. The Network I was able to build and the lecture about entrepreneurship are the major takeaways which strongly influenced my future. I can strongly recommend the Master in Part-time at the HHL for a course with impact. But be prepared they will broaden your horizon and you will have to grow with it.

Student

Verified

18/01/2022

Blended

Horrible Experience

I am also a recent student at HHL. I would agree with your post wholeheartedly. HHL is brilliant at marketing, however, it's more like a Ponzi scheme. A lot of Indians happen to fall into this trap, including me. I joined HHL while letting ESMT go primarily because I thought Leipzig is a cheaper city to live in and the course is cheaper. Always remember if a deal looks too good it is probably a scam. The studies are extremely below average, the college has an abysmal career centre and the campus is a joke. Now let me give you some deeper insights : 1. Given that the college is located in EAST Germany- you need to understand that RACISM is a truth. The college runs MBA and MSc. (Management). MBA is a mere point of luring students as unaware students come to HHL with dreams and hopes of doing an MBA and getting placed. To break it to you softly: MSc is the FLAGSHIP program for HHL- this means 99% of the class is German, and they got offers from the likes of Mckinsey, Bain and Deutsche come to the Germans. Even the foreigners doing MSc. do not get a whiff of the opportunity- please understand- Germany is a "German" speaking country and not internationalised enough to include "English" as the business language. Nonetheless, HHL is such a weak school that it cannot do **** about anything- their placement cell always keeps on crying but they are of absolutely ZERO help. You will not get any scholarships like the Germans do here thanks to the Dean who promotes this divide between Germans and others by giving scholarships thatd more or less cover the entire tuition fees of the German students. 2. The Academic Director for MBA is definitely someone people look at and think that good there's an Indian there- he has absolutely zero value in HHL and in the research world anyways. He is only out there to lure you in to get a fatter commission-the more Indians he gets in the higher his commission and his job is SAFE. 3. The faculty is so horribly poor in their own research work and competence that you'd feel why did I come here. The only reason why some people come here: VISA and citizenship in a few years. You may also procure a job but with the HHL tag being so weak the salaries are way below AVERAGE. Free advice: So either way if you're planning to come to Germany either perfect your German or choose a different country because colleges like HHL get students from all over the world- after which they do not really give a damn whether you get placed or not- it's ALL BUSINESS TO HHL. I cannot speak about many other colleges, but, due to the sheer presence of colleges like Frankfurt business school, WHU and ESMT in bigger cities such as Frankfurt, Berlin and Dusseldorf provide better chances to network during the duration of the course. Do NOT come to HHL and waste your money. Your entire education and stay would cost 50 lacs, instead invest in BITCOIN or STOCKS. OR just do your Masters in Management from a public University in Germany which is way cheaper, has higher chances of scholarship and better placement opportunities. Hope this helps Thanks.

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